Alpine Heliski NZ

Overall Rating

Alpine Heliski NZ

Alpine Heliski NZ3.9/55
Alpine Heliski NZ3.9 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
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Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand
Alpine Heliski, Queenstown New Zealand

Alpine Heliski NZ

Overall Rating

Alpine Heliski NZ3.9/55
Alpine Heliski NZ3.9 out of 5 based on 5 reviews

Alpine Heliski NZ

For powder hounds who are addicted to skiing or boarding virgin snow, fresh tracks are as vital as breathing oxygen. Finding freshies at the NZ ski resorts is rare, and whilst it’s sometimes possible to find fresh powder at the NZ club fields, it can be hard to have a nut-cracking good time considering the general lack of facilities. The ultimate alternative is a helicopter – it’s a million times better than a nut-cracker rope-tow! And with a helicopter you can hit the backcountry where there are thousands of hectares of untouched snow – it’s music to a powderhounds ears!

Alpine Heli Ski NZ provides a range of heli skiing packages and charter trips in the spectacular Southern Alps near Queenstown, Wanaka and Mt Cook. Their packages are suitable for seasoned pros or heli skiing virgins. However if you haven’t been heli skiing yet, be warned. Go heli skiing once and you’ll begin a love affair that you may not be able to break off!

Where is Alpine Heli Ski Located?

Alpine Heli Ski is located in Queenstown, with the playground being within the stunning mountains near Queenstown, Wanaka and Mt Cook.

When Does Alpine Heli Ski Operate?

The Alpine Heli Ski season starts on July 1st and continues through to September 30th. Peak time is during August.

As with all New Zealand heli skiing, fly days are very contingent on the weather. The choppers may be grounded every second day on average, so keep your itinerary a little flexible. Thankfully there are a plethora of other world famous Queenstown activities to keep you entertained.

More Reasons to Go Heli Skiing with Alpine Heli Ski

Alpine Heli Ski is a boutique operation so they can provide a somewhat personalised experience. And considering the business is owner operated, Tim and his team strive to ensure that you have the best possible experience. Chances are that your heli-ski day will be absolute bluss!

Heli skiing with Alpine Heli Ski is not just for the rich and famous. Mere mortals can also experience the joys of heli skiing considering the very affordable packages.

Heli Skiing and Heli Boarding Terrain

The terrain on offer is vast to say the least. It’s more than 1,800 times the size of Coronet Peak, so the guides have lots of slopes to choose from to find the best snow conditions. The terrain is appropriate for various ability levels, from blue-runners through to experts.

The alpine terrain includes powder bowls, ridges, chutes and glaciers. Run length varies somewhat with an average vertical drop of about 600-700 metres. In the Mt Cook region the runs are generally much longer, with some runs in excess of 1,200 metres so you’ll need to undertake an intensive pre-season training regime!?!

Another highlight of the heli skiing is the opportunity to be up amongst the spectacular terrain in the Southern Alps. Chances are you’ll become really snap happy, so take an extra memory card for your digital camera.

Alpine Heliski Refund Policy

A full refund can only be guaranteed if cancellation is received 24 hours prior to skiing.

Minimum number of 3 people required for heliskiing to operate.

If adverse weather prevents flying, your money will be fully refunded. If some heli skiing has been possible but less than the runs booked, you will be refunded at NZ$100 per run not skied 'or' downgraded to the next lowest package, whichever is the least cost to Alpine Heliski Ltd.

Refunds are not given due to injury, lack of ability or fitness.

Alpine Heliski reserves the right to cancel the days heli ski operations for any reason.

Alpine Heli Ski Review

The Powderhounds hit Queenstown and were happy to forego bungee jumping to head out with Alpine Heli Ski - not a difficult choice really! A heli skiing descent is a little slower than a bungee jump, but a thousand times more enjoyable! The Powderhounds had an absolutely powderrific day out with Alpine Heliski.

Of course even though Alpine Heliski is a high quality operation, no heli skiing operation is absolutely perfect for everyone. Our review covers different aspects of their operation and hopefully you can determine if Alpine Heli Ski is likely to align with your priorities. That being said, it is somewhat difficult to fully differentiate the heli skiing operations in New Zealand (particularly those around Queenstown) as they have many similarities.

Pros

  • This is a small heli ski operation so generally they’ll only have two or three groups sharing the helicopter. The boutique nature of the operation comes with various advantages including greater flexibility and variety of terrain skied, so their motto of “Powder Personalised” is fairly apt. Another advantage may be a higher probability of flying out of Queenstown airport, but if your group has to go in the van for the gorgeous drive to the Glenorchy staging area, you won’t feel too hard done by. The small scale format also makes it feel less like a production line. The day was very relaxed and fun, and it didn’t feel like we were sheep being rounded up and corralled into a sheep pen… baaaa!
  • The terrain we hit off Mt Larkins was really interesting and at a high elevation, so considering the poor snow conditions at the ski resorts, the guides did a great job of finding good quality snow.
  • As with all NZ heli skiing, the price of heli skiing is a fraction of what you’d pay in other countries.
  • The free ride days are a fabulous idea and a great way to sample heli skiing without committing to a full package. 
Cons
  • The only potential disadvantage of the small size of the operation is that there’s a risk you could get grouped with those of differing abilities. However unless you’re a super-dooper-whizz-bang expert or a tentative intermediate, this is unlikely to be an issue.
  • As with all NZ heli skiing, the quality of the snow can be somewhat inconsistent, and the length of the runs is commonly less than that found in other parts of the world. .

Powder Snow
Snow conditions in the New Zealand backcountry can be very hit or miss. Chest deep powder is a rarity in NZ, the freezing line is not necessarily below the heli ski terrain, the snow generally has high moisture content, and there are no trees to protect the snow from the sun and wind. So considering this as well as the general lack of snow at the ski resorts when we were in Queenstown, we were suitably impressed with the snow conditions. The guides chose high elevation terrain in the area off Mt Larkins (2,300 metres) and did a good job at finding appropriate aspects.

In wide chutes there was shin deep powder, and further down there was delightful ankle deep powder. Only the very end of runs had a little crust.

Guests were provided with a good indication of the snow conditions before going out.
Overall Terrain
Alpine Heliski has a sizeable tenure, much bigger than many of the Canadian heli skiing operations. However in order to find good snow conditions, significant terrain is required to find adequate slopes at high elevation with the right aspect.

The Mt Larkins area had interesting terrain. Only one run provided long fall line skiing and riding, whilst others had lots of diverse features with rollers, banks and lips on which to play. Avalanche conditions were low so we were able to tackle some short steep pitches at the top of the runs.

Run length varies considerably depending on various factors, but on average the runs are generally longer than with their competitors at Southern Lakes.
Alpine Terrain
As above.

Tree Skiing
n/a
This is New Zealand so there’s absolutely zippo tree skiing in heli ski terrain.

Strong Intermediate Terrain


Like the other Queenstown heli skiing operators, Alpine Heliski specifically has packages for strong intermediate riders (3 run heli 1; 4 run heli 1 or 2). Much of the terrain we skied had wide and reasonably mellow slopes that could have been tackled by strong intermediate riders.

The only limitation for Alpine Heliski would be a low likelihood of having a group with just intermediate riders, unless you organised a group yourself. If this doesn’t bother you, then go for it!
Advanced Terrain
The terrain was very well suited to advanced riders with short steep pitches and lots of rolly terrain where you could put on the after-burners.
Expert & Extreme Terrain
The terrain we visited was not super steep or technical, but there were a few rocks to huck off that the guide was happy to point out.

Near Mt Larkins is some terrain that has some steep gnarly chutes that could be tackled when the avo risk was low, but you’d probably need to be on a private charter to do so.
Guiding
Unlike other operators who may use casual or on-call guides, Alpine Heliski have about 8 regular guides who know the terrain really well. And to add to the fun factor, the guides have plenty of personality and charisma.

The senior guides have high level qualifications. The other guides aren’t necessary well certified but have years of relevant experience.

Our guide didn’t provide many specific instructions out in the field, but this was probably because the avalanche risk was low and precise guiding was not required.
Heli
Alpine Heliski use Heliworks’ helicopters, one of which is badged up specifically for Alpine Heliski – very sexy! Helicopters used include B2 and B3 Squirrels which are powerful, well maintained, and a fraction roomier in the rear than some other choppers.
Avalanche Mitigation Strategies
Alpine Heliski have a snow and avalanche forecasting system such that they collect information on weather, snow and snowpack stability. In the field any avalanche mitigation strategies were not evident to guests, possibly because the guide felt these unnecessary considering the low avalanche risk. One guest pack that contained a shovel and probe was provided per group.
Safety Briefing
As is reasonably typical for a NZ heli ski operator, the safety briefing was incredibly “brief”. Besides how to turn on the avalanche transceiver, no advice was provided on how to use the transceiver. Thankfully they use very modern avo beacons that are somewhat dummy proof. No guidance was provided regarding what to do in the event of witnessing or being caught in an avalanche, and the briefing didn’t include the use of a probe or shovel. The briefing included very little about safety around a helicopter.

Pleasingly however, as a supplement to the verbal briefing, a logistics information sheet is handed out to guests that covers the basics of safety for guided heli skiing. Some of this content is also covered on their website.
Frills
The frills associated with the experience are somewhat uniform across the Queenstown heli ski operators. Equipment rental is not included in the heli ski packages, but they will pick up rental equipment from any Queenstown shop. Alpine Heliski have the advantage that they are housed within the same building as Outside Sports, so at least you can sign waivers and hire ski and snowboard equipment without leaving the building.

As is standard with Queenstown heli ski operators, you can hire a POV head cam, they provide accommodation pick-ups, and a lovely lunch is provided within a gorgeous backcountry setting. Lunch consisted of yummy thick soup, sausage rolls, quiche, rolls with a variety of fillings, and naughty but nice slices. The guides and pilot even dug out a table as well as seats, making the picnic lunch experience somewhat luxurious!

You may wish to BYO water. The guides provide some beverages at lunch time, but you’ll need to take responsibility for any other hydration requirements throughout the rest of the day.
Value for Money
As with most of the NZ heli ski operators, Alpine Heliski provides exceptional value for money. Sure the runs might not be as long as heli skiing in Canada and other parts of the world, and the powder might not be as deep, but by golly it is super cheap. Similar packages would cost the same in the USA, except that they’d be charged in US dollars rather than the very favourable New Zealand peso. And when you compare heli skiing to bungee jumping (about NZ$250 for a couple of moments of fun) then you absolutely get better value for money with heli skiing.

The rates for the Queenstown heli skiing operators are very similar. They are a little less than for Wilderness Heliski (at Mt Cook) and Methven Heliski, although the run lengths are typically not as long as for these two operators. See the NZ heli skiing comparison for more information on rates and statistics. As with all NZ operators, powder ski or snowboard rental is not included in the package.

The free ride days are a fabulous concept for those wanting a taste of heli skiing. They are inexpensive and the number of runs undertaken can be budget dependent, although if you measure value in terms of fresh turns, you might not get the same value as you would with the daily heli ski packages.

Notes Regarding Review

The review is largely based on our experience, but also on discussions with staff, former guests, and information available on their website. Our review has some limitations as it’s not possible to ski all the terrain and in all possible snow and weather conditions. Every guide is somewhat different and we acknowledge that everyone’s experience will be slightly different. The ratings are from our perspective only and we encourage you to contribute to the overall review of the operation by adding a review.

Check out our heli ski ratings to see how Alpine Heliski fares against other backcountry operations around the world.

6 Run Heliski Package

Matthew30/08/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Rider Country
    Australia
  • Month Visited:
    August
  • Admin Rating
    5

6 Run Heliski Package

Matthew30/08/2016
I booked an early bird deal and received 15% off a 6 run package bringing the amount to $956 which was very respectable.

I flew with them on the 19th of August after being pushed back from the Thursday, when they explained why it was all about providing myself as the customer the best possible snow given the conditions, which made it more than acceptable.

My guide for the day was Tim, very easy to get along with and share a laugh or answer any of my questions.

The day ran very smoothly was picked up at 8.30 driven out to the pick up location, received the necessary trainings to help stay as safe a possible, and was in the mountains from about 10.45am till 3-3.30 before being driven back to town around 4pm.

Snow was nice soft corn on the sunny aspects and a 1-2cm layer of crust on the shaded aspects but dry powder underneath, once the initial layer of ice was broken it was very enjoyable. Alpine Helsinki provided a fantastic lunch of sausage rolls, soup & gourmet sandwiches, tea, coffee and juice 3 runs in before finishing the day of with some more challenging runs.

All in all a fantastic day and a great first look into the world of Heliskiing, I will definitely be returning to Queenstown to Heliski again with Alpine Heliski.

Matt

Alpine Heliski NZ

Shannon02/09/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Admin Rating
    1

Alpine Heliski NZ

Shannon02/09/2013
Professional service and a great day all round. JT our guide was a great laugh and really made our day. Would highly recommend them to anyone.

Thanks to Powder Hounds for the referral.

My advice, go with the larger heliski operators in Queenstown

Scott30/08/2013
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Admin Rating
    4

My advice, go with the larger heliski operators in Queenstown

Scott30/08/2013
I will be fair with my ratings of the "snow" as they cancelled my flight at 9pm the night before. Read on:

After calling in the morning to see if the heliski was still going ahead the next day and signing all the waivers at 4pm, I got a call at 9pm the night before to "unfortunately" inform me that due to lack of numbers they had to cancel the heliski. The Freeride option still had openings when I called in the morning but the manager said my flight had enough numbers. When I asked whether I could transfer to the Freeride helicopter they said "sorry it's now fully booked".. So you're telling me you would rather walk-in business over customers who have booked months in advance? Is this because you get a higher rate for the last minute walk-ins?

One of the worst customer service I have experienced. They did offer to call up either Harris Mountain Heliski or Southern Lakes, 15 minutes later... they "may" have a spot for Southern Lakes but I won't find out until tomorrow. They did not even bother to call Harris Mountain Heliski whereas I took the initiative to give them a call, the owner picked up the phone (after hours) and was just at the bar down the road so personally came to see me and secured a booking for the next day - that's what I call "customer service".

My advice is to go with the larger Heliski companies who can make enough numbers to fill a helicopter. But hey, I'm just a customer, something Alpine Heliski does not care very much about.

Alpine Heli Ski

Todd06/09/2010
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35

Alpine Heli Ski

Todd06/09/2010
Truly an awesome day, one of the best experiences of my life. We had fresh tracks all day and plenty of sunshine.

A Great Boutique Heli Experience

POWDERHOUNDS.COM21/08/2010
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    4

A Great Boutique Heli Experience

POWDERHOUNDS.COM21/08/2010
New Zealand heli skiing operations are all very similar and with the Queenstown operators it’s really difficult to differentiate one from another.

Factors typical to all NZ heli operations include: single day packages available; no tree skiing; high frequency of down days due to inability to ski and fly in protected areas; snow quality can be very variable; the vistas are spectacular; and the rates are a fraction of what you’d pay for heli skiing elsewhere in the world.

For all the Queenstown heli skiing operations the vertical drop is only about 600-700 metres, although with Alpine Heliski the runs might be a little longer than with Southern Lakes as some of their terrain is a fraction higher.

So what makes Alpine Heliski stand out from the rest of the pack? Alpine Heliski is owner-operated and the owner also doubles as the chief guide. Rather than it just being a business, heli skiing is Tim’s passion, and he’ll strive to make sure it becomes your obsession too. The operation is smaller than its competitors, and the boutique nature of the operation lends itself well to being able to customise the experience somewhat for each guest, even with the “standard” packages. The introduction of the Free Ride Days is also somewhat novel and a great opportunity for those on a budget to get out and enjoy the spectacular backcountry.

For a more detailed review and ratings on this operation, see our Alpine Heli Ski review.
select
Alpine Heliski Day Heli Packages DETAILS
Price p/p From price based on 3-run package.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 602

QUEENSTOWN DAY HELISKIING
Packages from 3 to 8 Runs Ex Queenstown

Deposit must be paid by promotion end-date to qualify for any promotional discounts
Location: New Zealand | Tour Focus: Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Ability: Intermediate to Expert
Price p/p From price based on 3-run package.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 602
Alpine Heliski offers day heli skiing packages from Queenstown suited to all abilities. Standard packages are 3 to 8 runs; you choose a package to suite your budget. All packages include guiding, safety equipment, gourmet lunch, transfers from your hotel in Queenstown & the time of your life! More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
DETAILS
Alpine Heliski Freeride Days DETAILS
Price p/p From price based on heli access plus first run & heli return.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 272

FREERIDE HELISKI & HELIBOARDING DAYS
From 1 run including lunch

Location: New Zealand | Tour Focus: Semi-Guided | Terrain Focus: Backcountry
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Price p/p From price based on heli access plus first run & heli return.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 272
Free Ride days are suitable for all ability levels as you control the pace and number of runs you wish to do. You choose a weekend/date you wish to book & Alpine Heli will run the day on whichever has the best conditions. Ideal for photo/film shoots, skiers/boarders wanting max heli runs or for those just wanting ..... More
View inclusions & Add-ons
Click here for rates, dates & availability
Future rates & dates are currently not yet available for this operator. Click here to enquire.
DETAILS
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